The team behind the upcoming anime Hetalia: World Stars has confirmed five more cast members to return to the hotly-anticipated production. On the anime’s official website, Studio Deen specified that the voice actors Daisuke Namikawa, Katsuyuki Konishi, Go Inoue, Atsushi Kousaka, and Yuki Kaida will be reprising their roles as Italy, Canada, Bulgaria, Greece, and the Narrator respectively.
These cast members will rejoin the likes of Hiroki Yasumoto (Germany), Hiroki Takahashi (Japan), and Noriaki Sugiyama (England); together, they’ll breath life into this wacky yet surprisingly deep satire of historical events — where the participating nations are often represented as young (handsome) men.
The Hetalia franchise saw worldwide popularity as bite-sized net animations produced by Studio Deen and internationally-distributed by Funimation between 2010 and 2011. At only five minutes per episode, Hetalia: World Series distilled major events like World War II into interpersonal interactions between the main characters. For example, Germany and his friends Italy and Japan share a rivalry with America, France, and England.
The anime also models identifiable features of those countries into their characters’ personalities and goals. In this respect, Italy behaves childishly and cowardly to reflect his country’s wartime conduct in the mid-20th Century. Italy’s close ally Germany contrasts heavily with this by being efficient and a bit of a workaholic. And on the other side of the alliances, the character America comes across as bossy and obnoxious, but also caring. All of this helps to set the stage for some scenes that amuse as well as educate.
With such entertainment value, it came as no surprise that Funimation and Studio Deen greenlighted 48 episodes and 4 original video animations (OVAs) for Hetalia: World Series, added an anime film during the same time period, and then followed up in 2013 with 20 more episodes under the title Hetalia: The Beautiful World. In addition, 15 episodes — titled as Hetalia: The World Twinkle — were streamed during 2015.
In the years since then, fans have eagerly awaited the next installment for the anime. Because the franchise’s source manga is ongoing, there will still be plot material for further anime production. In fact, the current manga, titled Hetalia: World Stars, started in 2014 and has thus far accumulated 4 volumes.
The first iteration of Hetalia‘s manga started humbly. Originally published by Hidekaz Himaruya in 2006 as a webcomic, the then-named Hetalia: Axis Powers attempted to weave a miniseries focusing on the time period between the World Wars I and II. This plot has remained incomplete due to Himaruya’s decision to revise his comic into a chronologically-looser series of strips. Later on, he would base some of his printed manga’s plot threads on ideas previously pioneered in his webcomic.
Himaruya’s printed manga was granted publication by Gentosha in the magazine Comic Birz beginning 2008. He continued to write for that publisher for another five years before moving over to Shueisha and its famed magazine Shonen Jump+ for the distribution of his now-titled Hetalia: World Stars.
With such an understated beginning, the Hetalia franchise exemplifies a success story in the manga and anime industry. Now, many fans await with excitement for the continuation of what used to be a little web comic posted over a decade ago.
Are you excited for the new Hetalia episodes? Got a favorite character? Feel free to comment!